Down syndrome is a genetic disorder which is basically caused by the presence of a part or an entire third copy of the chromosome 21. People who have Down syndrome may have physical growth delays and intellectual disability ranging from mild to moderate. Life seems tough for them as well as their parents, who are often seen with either curious or sympathetic eyes.
People with Down syndrome may face problems when it comes to leading a normal life, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t lead a normal life. Nor does it mean that they don’t dream in life. Today, we are going to tell you about Tim Harris, a man whose life’s driving force has been this quote from Walt Disney:
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Tim was born in 1986 and was diagnosed with Down syndrome, but that never stopped him from giving his best. During his teens, he started dreaming about owning a restaurant and for that he started working in local restaurants as well. After graduating from High School with the recognition of being elected as the ‘Student Of The Year’, he attended the Eastern New Mexico University and passed with certificates in Food Service, Restaurant Hosting and Office Skills in the year 2008.
In 2010, the best phase of his life started when he opened his own restaurant, Tim’s Place. With the help of his family, he opened his restaurant in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which became the first and the only restaurant to be owned by a man who has Down syndrome. Shorty, the restaurant became very famous, for the best thing that the customers got there and that too, for free- TIM’S HUG. Yes, apart from serving breaking, lunch and dinner, Tim’s Place was known for the hugs that he gave to his customers and soon the restaurant became “world’s friendliest restaurant.”
Tim’s dreams came true and as he became popular around the world, he decided to start a non-profit corporation that would help people with intellectual disabilities to start their own business. In August, 2014, he started the Tim’s Big Heart Foundation whose main aim is to inspire people to live meaningful and fulfilling lives though entrepreneurship and inclusion in community.
In 2015, people were shocked to hear that Tim’s Place was closing. Even Tim was upset at this, but the decision had a beautiful reason behind it. Tim met a girl named Tiffani Johnson at the National Down Syndrome Congress Convention and soon they started dating. As Tiffani lived in Iowa, it became difficult for them to be together, so they decided to move to Denver, because Tiffani too was moving there, close to the family. Tim had found love, and though his first love was his restaurant, he was ready to leave it, to be with the woman who wanted to be his wife one day. There’s was the perfect love story and how we loved them together.
When Tim’s Place closed in December 2015, he had already given more than 75,000 hugs. But that time, people were hopeful of something beautiful as Tim was to open a new Tim’s Place in Denver and the world was waiting to hear about its inauguration.
But, destiny had some other plans! Tim didn’t move to Denver, he couldn’t plan on starting the new Tim’s Place, because early this year, Tim and Tiffani broke up. It was really heartbreaking for Tim and his entire family, and the world was waiting to hear from them, when in May, Tim’s parents posted an update about Tim on his official blog on the website of Tim’s Big Heart Foundation. They explained as to why the plans for a new Tim’s Place were on hold and told that Tim had been sad after the break-up. But, as inspirational and courageous he has always been, Tim decided to move on in his life.
Heartbreaks are tough for anyone to handle, and here we have Tim, who had left his first love to be with the love of his life. He could have very understandably and easily remain upset, but that’s not him. According to his father, Keith Harris, Tim does feel upset for the bad things that happen in life, but there comes a time when he says, that’s enough, and gets up to do his things.
The restaurant plans may be on hold as of now, but Tim has become busy with his organization. He travels extensively as he is in high demand as an inspirational and motivational speaker. The blog, written by parents say that, “In 2015 he delivered over 30 keynote addresses in four countries. In 2016, he’s on track to do more events than in 2015.” In his free time, he does community volunteer work, and still gives his world-famous hugs and even says that his hugs won’t stop.
I am truly amazed at the amount of courage, determination, faith and love that Tim has for all around him. We all have so much to learn from this man. We love you Tim, please be the way you are.